Some sentences stop you in your tracks.
“When we returned we found our house burnt down and bones scattered around. I imagine they were my father and brother’s.”
Marianne was just an infant when they came. She has little memory of it but her mother has told her what happened. They killed her father and brother instantly. Then they took her mother and sister into the next room.
“Where did he take you both?’ I asked. ‘You will understand when you are older’ was all she would tell me.”
If this was in the Canadian press you would consider it a singularly brutal crime. But this happened in central Africa and it’s far from uncommon.
The men who committed these heinous crimes have not been caught and will likely never face justice. Murderers and rapists operate within a culture of impunity. And the problem is growing increasingly urgent as conflicts escalate in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
In the Congo alone, a sudden intensification of violence has forced well over 250,000 children from their homes into makeshift camps, leaving them profoundly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, in a country already described as being the “rape capital of the world”. In South Kivu where War Child is based, 40 women are raped every day. That is 1,000 new cases every month in that province alone.
War Child has been present in the country for almost ten years and has been responding to the rampant rape and abuse of women and young girls through protection programs and community outreach. In recent months, the need for our service has expanded exponentially and we are fielding a dramatic rise in support requests from children, women and community members.
We urgently need your help to respond to the increasing incidences of sexual violence, to deliver training and support on rape management and prevention, and to build stronger networks for survivors.
Supporting us are longstanding friends, the Slaight family, who have committed to matching any donations made to War Child through to the end of the year, up to $100,000. This means, every dollar you invest will be worth two.
With your help, we can and will deliver direct and urgent support to the mothers and children of central Africa who are being brutalized on an unimaginable scale.